Soviet Russia



After creating the Soviet Union, Lenin died and a ruthless power struggle transformed Russia into the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin. World War II was followed by bipolar Cold War opposition with the West. The experiment of communism finally collapsed in 1991, having survived for 74 years.


Lenin dies
Hitler attacks Russia
Gagarin flies into space
Berlin Wall is torn down




New Economic Policy


The New Economic Policy (NEP) was Lenin’s plan to help get Russia’s economy back on track after seven devastating years of war. The generally effective plan allowed private enterprise, to some extent, and focused on stimulating production.




Russia Under Stalin


Stalin’s reign was a time of great terror, collectivization and industrialization. It was practically a war against his own people. For two decades the whole society was paralyzed by fear on many levels.




Russia in World War II


World War II was the most widespread and destructive war in history. It was a military conflict that grew out of the consequences of the First World War. The Soviet Union came out of World War II more powerful than ever. The only balancing power was the United States of America (US).




Cold War


After World War II, people found themselves in a bipolar world order with two opposing camps: Liberal democratic Western countries, led by the US, and the communist states of the Eastern Bloc, led by the USSR. Although there was no outright global war between the two, there were many regional ones. So the second half of the 20th century, until 1991, became known as the, “Era of Cold War.”




Khrushchev’s Thaw


The period, known as the, “Khrushchev Thaw,” during the 1950’s and the beginning of the 1960’s, was the most promising, open, and prosperous time in Soviet history. It was Nikita Khrushchev who banished Stalin’s reign of terror and improved people’s living standards.




Brezhnev’s Stagnation


The Khrushchev Thaw was followed by the 20-year-rule of Leonid Brezhnev. It was a time of relaxed foreign relations and internal standstill. During Brezhnev’s, “Era of Stagnation,” the Soviet Union became politically, economically, and socially backward, and the need for reforms grew increasingly acute.




Russia Under Gorbachev


When Mikhail Gorbachev assumed power in 1985, his goal was to bring the Soviet Union out of its economic and political deadlock, while still preserving socialism. Instead, he unintentionally ignited the process that led to the collapse of the whole Soviet system.

Russian Federation